DUTERTE DECLARES NO END TO DRUG WAR
President Rodrigo Duterte remains committed to the war against drugs even if it meant that more drug suspects will die.
The President, speaking while in Cordova town on Mactan Island yesterday, said the criticisms of the Catholic priests and bishops and even by international human rights groups cannot stop the drug war unless all drug operators are eliminated.
“Father, monsignors, bishops, this means to say marami pang patayan to. Kasi lalaban talaga yan (there will be more deaths because they will always resist and fight back). It won’t end tomorrow for as long as there is a drug pusher and drug lord,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte was in Cebu to grace the groundbreaking ceremony for the third bridge that would connect Cebu to Mactan Island.
His 30-minute speech was focused mostly on defending his war against illegal drugs and his scathing attacks against the Catholic Church, whose bishops and priests have repeatedly condemned the rising death toll in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs that have claimed at least 7,000 lives.
The President, in a separate speech during the induction of the new set of officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) at the Waterfront Airport Hotel in Lapu-Lapu City last night, again lambasted priests and human rights advocates who continue to criticize his anti-drug policies.
The country’s top executive reiterated that no one can stop his war on drugs.
“I’m telling you now. The campaign against drugs will continue until the last day of my presidency. I will only stop if all those involved in illegal drugs are dead,” he said.
In his Cordova speech, Mr. Duterte pointed out that while Catholic priests do not want any deaths in the ongoing war against drugs, the list of identified drug personalities cannot just be disregarded.
He said he will order the precinct commanders in towns all over the country to give the Catholic priests a list of all persons “playing with drugs” and “destroying lives of innocents.”
“There’s a whale of a difference between killing an innocent person and killing a criminal. They ought not to be mixed up,” he stressed.
“I do not need martial law. I do not need to declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. You destroy my country, you destroy the youth. I do not give a shit kung tanan pari magluhod, maghangad langit, mag-ampo. I have a country to preserve and that is the Filipino nation. It has nothing to do with religion,” he added.
The President, in the profanities-laced speech, instead stepped up his attack on priests whom he said were fond of wearing golden cross on their chests and using golden chalices while living in grand mansions. In contrast, he added, Jesus Christ was nailed to a simple wooden cross and used wooden cups.
“Mga pari wa nay gibuhat ug dili magyawyaw. Gwapog mga palasyo. Ibaligya na ninyo. Palit ninyog bugas ihatag sa pobre. Unya undang nag pang . . . Kung dili, ipadakop ta mo. Extortion (Priests don’t do anything else but rant. They live in palaces. You should sell those and use the money to buy rice for the poor. And stop collecting money. If you don’t, I will have you arrested. Extortion),” he said.
The President also referred the contents of the report of the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) without naming it, saying that while thousands of persons had been killed in the war on drugs, the government has also lost its share of law enforcers.
In the 124-page report, HRW said more than 7,000 people had been killed — mostly by unidentified gunmen and some during police operations — since Mr. Duterte assumed office in July 2016.
The President said the war on drugs has also claimed the lives of 32 soldiers and 29 policemen who died during anti-drug raids.
He said it was his order to the police and military to go out and hunt down the drug personalities. If they violently resist and put their lives on danger, then law enforcers should just kill these personalities instead of being killed.
At one point in his speech, the President brought out a thick black book which, he said, contained all identified drug personalities per region and per branch of government all over the country.
He said he has been calling all mayors and governors to Malacañang to warn them against coddling drug personalities.
He also cited intelligence reports that 40 percent of all the barangay captains in the country are into drugs.
During his speech before the businessmen, the President likewise stressed: “I can’t destroy the drug industry by just killing drug lords. I can’t stop the drug industry if there are still drug pushers on the streets because it’s an organization and an apparatus.”
President Duterte challenged priests to do something to help address the drug problem and not just criticize him.
“You priests just keep on talking. You have done nothing. From baptism to death and on Sundays, you collect money. Where’s the money of the faithful?” he said.
The President made this statement even as the Archdiocese of Cebu, only two weeks ago, has launched the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Drug Dependents (CAPDD), forging a partnership with barangay captains, the police, and other agencies of government for the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers throughout the city and province of Cebu.
From July 1 to Jan. 30, 106,980 drug pushers and users surrendered to the police in the region.
In November 2016, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called for a meeting of different sectors to formulate a program for drug dependents. A series of meetings identified two existing programs which could serve as template for the CAPDD: Surrender to God and Labang (Lahat Bangon).
The two programs, which were introduced last July, has so far about a hundred drug surrenderers who were cleared of illegal drug use.
Palma earlier said they were not against President Duterte and the latter’s war on drugs, but on how it is done.
Since July 1, about 7,000 drug suspects were killed either in legitimate operations or by unknown assailants.
Palma said CAPDD is intended not for anything else but “for the simple reason that we care.”
“We want to make drug surrenderers feel that they are not left behind. It’s a question of just simply making the first step, and we know that we can make it happen if we want to,” said the 66-year-old prelate during CAPDD’s launching.
Subscribe to our regional newsletter
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.